Before I launch into my tribute to Tina Turner, full disclosure. What’s Love Got To Do With It is one of my all time favorite films. Angela Bassett is beyond fierce in that movie!
I wore my hair in long, straightened spikes through most of my college years, leading one of my enemies to mutter that I “looked like a broke-ass Tina Turner” one day as I walked by. I took that as a compliment and held my head even higher.
To prove what I stan I am, I will confess – I have a picture of Tina taped up in my cubicle at work. She inspires me to stay strong throughout the day.
I have been obsessed for years!
Tina was definitely one of my big-hair idols in the Eighties. Along with Diana Ross and Chaka Khan, she had big, bodacious hair and worked it for all she had. Also, she’s got legs, and she still knows how to use them. (Just imagine if Miss Tina decided to take a page from Mo’Nique’s guide to body hair care. That would be a show-stopper of an entirely different kind!)
Tina’s own life story is so well-known, it’s almost impossible to watch her perform and not imagine where she was at in terms of her marital strife. I find myself trying to read her eyes during her old performances. But I can’t read anything but joy during this amazing duet with a young, sweet-faced Marvin Gaye, or this show-stopping performance with Cher that must be a drag queen’s wet dream.
How many performers has Tina influenced today? Fergie-Ferg just recently revealed that the fantastic Miss Turner played a key role in her musical ambitions. Fabulous new and upcoming talent Alice Smith is earning favorable comparisons to “similarly hard-to-categorize pioneers” like Tina Turner, and that’s certainly high praise. (and richly deserved! Check her out, y’all!)
To me, the most obvious sign of Tina’s influence is in the unstoppable force that is Beyonce. And Little Miss Knowles is cute as she pays homage to her idol here, but she will never be Tina. Nobody can. That’s an awfully short skirt and some big-ass shoes to fill, but bless her heart for trying. Tina seemed so genuinely pleased and touched. Those two thumbs up must have meant the world to Beyonce.
Even though she’s now 66 and recieving Kennedy Center honors, Tina Turner isn’t resting on her laurels. Just last year she released All The Best, a greatest hits compliation with new songs included. Her music now is firmly placed in the soft rock canon, which she obviously enjoys. Personally, I would love her to come back to soul and belt out some contemporary urban stuff. (Just imagine Timbaland working with Tina Turner – that could potentially be genius. Or it could suck. Discuss.)
I love classic Tina in black and white shimmying alongside wife-beater Ike, I love evolving Tina in the Seventies, trying to figure out what comes next. But the Tina I love the most is the one I grew up with, the Private Dancer Tina, the one who rasped “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and strutted back into the mainstream in 1985. The message of this song with David Bowie, and the happiness and pride you can see on her face here made me love this performance. The song is included on All The Best.
As a plus, this is the David Bowie I fantasized about as a little girl, the Goblin King.
Love you, Tina. You’re an inspiration to any woman in a bad relationship to DTMFA, and your beauty and sexiness is aging like fine wine. In your own words, you’re Simply The Best!